Experiments on Adaptation
One of the founders of General Adaptation Syndrome Dr. Hans Seyle who worked in 1930’s defined adaptation as the reaction of organism to the extended external irritant.
The adaptation can be broken down into three. First stage is recognition of the stress. At this stage the organism perceives and measures the extent of stress and defines what are the feedbacks and possible reactions. This perception of a threatening situation caused by the brain sends biochemical messages to various parts of the body, resulting in bodily changes such as increased or irregular heartbeats, shallow fast-breathing or muscle tension. On the second stage the organism utilizes its abilities to resist or neutralize the stress. Once the irritant is more or less familiar the pathway to the reduction of its effect is taken. This stage cannot be maintained indefinitely and longer exposure to stressors cause organisms to progress to the resistance stage. The stage is also referred to as the ‘survival’ stage. Here organisms develop a way to fight off the response the stressor has inflicted upon them. The last step is to evaluate the duration of the stress to determine whether a long-term protective measures should be taken by the organism. It is possible that in case of long duration of the stress the mutation at the genealogical level occurs.
After I rubbed my finger against the sandpaper I have given a rank of 6 to its coarseness. Exactly one minute later I rubbed the same piece of paper again and noticed that the feeling of coarseness changed. Now the paper seemed to be softer. The subjective rank for the coarseness has been given a mark of 4.5.
Having tasted some sweet water and held it my mouth for some time the fresh water after it seems to be a little sweetened as well. The reason for that I think is in the receptors on the tissue of the tongue, which get used to sweet water and it takes them some time to get back to the normal state. In addition the remainder of sugar in the mouth sweetens the fresh water.
The third experiment is well known by me from the childhood. It is rather hard in the course of the experiment to define what the feelings are but they are quite strange. The hand, which was initially placed into cold water and after it into warm water seemed to feel cold at once but after several moments, it looked like the warm water was really hot! And the other hand (the one that was initially placed into hot water) seemed to provide exactly the opposite feedback. As the result I got totally confused (“what you see is not what you get”) until both of my hands adapted to lukewarm water and ‘reported’ the same feeling.